A student gunman has opened fire at a Southern California high school, killing two students and wounding three others before he was captured in grave condition after shooting himself in the head, authorities said.
The shooting occurred around 7:30 am local time on Thursday at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Shauna Orandi, 16, said she was in her Spanish class doing homework when she heard four gunshots that she initially mistook as instruments from a band class. She said a student burst into the room saying he’d seen the gunman, and her classmates were stunned into silence.
“My worst nightmare actually came true,” she said later as she left a nearby park with her father. “This is it. I’m gonna die.”
Freshman Rosie Rodriguez said she was walking up the library stairs when she heard noises that “sounded like balloons” popping. She realized they were gunshots when she saw other students running.
Still carrying a backpack laden with books, she ran across the street to a home, where a person she didn’t know gave shelter to her and about 10 other students.
“I just heard a lot of kids crying. We were scared,” Rodriguez said.
On a normal day, she said, Saugus High School felt very safe.
“We never really thought this would happen in our school,” she said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said six people were shot, including the 16-year-old student suspect. Thursday was his birthday. No details were released on a motive.
A video of the shooting shows the gunman shooting himself in the head. Authorities say he was carrying a .45 caliber handgun.
The two students who died were 16 and 14. Their names were not released.
Saugus High School and other schools in the area were locked down.
Television images showed deputies swarming the school and several people being moved on gurneys. Lines of students were escorted from the school by armed deputies.
Anxious parents were awaiting reunification with their children in a park near the high school.